Open Church is a new nonprofit that will allow global church leaders to share ministry ideas and free downloadable resources. We’ll see if the church can learn how to share again, just like kindergarten.
One of the main ideas of this effort is to serve the worldwide church, not just offer fancy graphics to U.S. churches. As a part of that push, they’re sharing some stats about the white maleness of global church leaders with this infographic (view the full size PDF). The eye-opening stats are reminiscent of Church Diversity and what we’re missing out on:
- 80% of global influencers are Americans, but Americans account for only 10% of global Christians.
- Only 5% are women.
- There’s a complete lack of cultural diversity.
The visionary behind Open Church is Kent Shaffer, who also serves on the board of directors of our nonprofit parent, the Center for Church Communication. We asked Kent a few questions about Open Church to learn more about this global opportunity to share:
What kind of marketing and communication resources will Open Church offer?
Kent Shaffer: Open Church will offer a broad scope of free resources which include church communications training manuals, sermon graphics, videos and much more for the visual artist. And Open Church’s idea platform will feature insights from many church communications practitioners.
Sharing is great, but anytime we talk about giving away resources there’s the question of content creators. How are they compensated if you’re giving everything away?
Kent: Just like any ministry, God will compensate them in heaven, on earth or both.
Fiscally speaking, Open Church is very intentional about impartiality among contributors, so the village pastor in Malawi is treated the same as Billy Graham. Having impartiality as a core value keeps us from financially compensating contributors or giving special promotional treatment to specific contributors. However, each resource and idea contributor will receive a link back to their site from each contribution’s page. Open Church doesn’t do any direct promotion just these links, but a contributor is free to promote, sell or make money with their site however they prefer once someone clicks through.
The historic, global church doesn’t have a very good track record of collaboration. Do you think we can really come together and share?
Kent: I hope so. I realize it is very idealistic. And I realize that the global church has a pitiful track record of collaboration.
We have 39,000+ Christian denominations globally and about 320,000 churches in the U.S., but most successful “global collaboration” events never reach past several thousand organizations.
In the past, key barriers to collaboration have been politics, ego feeding, for profit endeavors, dogmatic disagreements, relationships with strings attached and imbalanced affiliations with specific organizations and/or cultures. Open Church hopes to reach greater collaboration through 10 ways:
- Independent affiliation (bypasses many stigmas).
- Impartiality among contributors (when contributors receive equal honor, God receives the glory).
- Funding by donations.
- Judging content by theological benchmarks of (1) salvation by grace through faith of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection, (2) the Great Commission, and (3) the two love commandments.
- Intentionally and aggressively seeking contributors across a broad scope of geography, race, age, gender, ministry role, ministry model, theology and denominations.
- Strict leadership accountability and limitations.
- Fiscal and operational transparency.
- Building out a diverse team of volunteers and advisors who can help us better understand the real needs of the global church.
- Keeping organizationally fluid so that we can scale quickly to a global scope of cultures and adjust accordingly.
- Reminding ourselves this is impossible without God.
Learn more about Open Church. They hope to launch late in 2011.